Category Archives: Microcontrollers

Epic Cylon costume with Larson Scanner

By Warren Goodwin

Warren wrote in on Facebook:

I just received your Larson scanner for my Foam Cylon helmet today … I have since this video diffused the light inside the clear conduit pipe the LEDS are held inside of to make the LED effect a bit more smoother.

He has been posting updates of the costume on facebook.

Cylon costume with Larson Scanner eye
By Warren Goodwin

RGB Interactive Table


Craig shared this project which evolved with the assistance of the Octolively project.

Thanks for the previous help you gave me when I was designing my own IR proximity boards. I thought you may want to have a look at the finished item.

I have attached a picture of the 25 100mmx100mm boards and a video of the table working. Each one had a SOIC PIC 18F26K22 on it, with 9 IR transmitters and receivers and 9 x WS2812b addressable LEDs on. They all kind of communicate with each other so that each board does the same IR reading of the same ‘pixel’ at the same time as the others. I simply have a pin on the board which outputs low whan it is working (taking a reading’, then after it is done, it changes to an input pin, it continually looks at this pin until it goes high, meaning all the other boards have also completed that particular reading and then it’s on to the next one.

I also have a calibration function so any thickness opaque covering can be put on the table top.

I have 2 buttons on it. One to change the colour (including the rainbow fade) and also a button to change the fade speed.


Thank you, Craig, for sharing your project! We’re glad you were able to get inspiration and helpful information from one of our projects.



Interactive LED Christmas Tree

LED Christmas tree on Octolively derivative boards

Our friends at Mouser sent us this picture of their Octolively derived display, updated for the holidays:

We continue to have fun with your Octolively module design. In the attached photo you can see why we decided to use sockets for the LEDs on our boards.  We plan on changing out the display for each of the holidays.

I was a little concerned at first about using the red LEDs with resistors that were chosen for white or blue, but they’re socketed, so replacing any that get damaged by overdriving should be easy! Looks like a fun way to celebrate at the office, and the snowflake tree-topper is a nice touch.

DIY Mega Menorah 9000

LEDs in breadboard

Over on twitter, @shaiss says:

This is why #OSHA is awesome! In a pinch+some parts we made our electronic menorah. @EMSL design &  @adafruit trinket.

If you want to roll your own, the open source hardware documentation is on our wiki. If you’re not keen on the breadboard aesthetic for your hanukkiyah, you can still get the Mega Menorah 9000 kit.

Octolively derivative at ARMTechCon

Mouser display based on Octolively

We dropped by ARMTechCon last week to check out a tip sent in by email (thanks, Barry!) that Mouser Electronics was displaying something that looked like our Octolively modules.

Kids interacting with LEDs
Photo courtesy of Mouser

Mouser staff had been inspired by an installation of our Interactive LED Panels to create something interactive that they could show off at Engineers Week at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. They used the Octolively as the basis for their project, and the kids loved it of course.

Blue "M" in LEDs

For trade shows, they built up a display with a mix of blue and white LEDs to show off the Mouser “M”. Based on the foot traffic it got while I was at the booth, it is quite popular.


They made some minor changes from our original Octolively design and used different connector types to highlight Mouser’s product lines. The heart of the project is still the 40-pin DIP ATmega164P (perhaps anomalous at an ARM conference) running our Octolively code, which gave the Mouser folks a chance to play with some microcontroller programming.

Interactive display based on Octolively

It’s always exciting to see a derivative of one of our projects in the wild. Thanks to the Mouser folks for sharing their project story and sending the museum picture for us to share.

Blinky AVR Earrings

Blinky AVR Earring

Look what just arrived in the mail– Blinky AVR Earrings!

Blinky AVR Earrings

Not long ago, Rick posted on twitter about the ATtiny84 blinky earrings he had made, inspired by my voltage regulator earrings (which I now fasten on with the appropriate phillips screw).

Four blue LEDs blink in sequence, powered by a CR1220 battery. The board is traditional OSHPark purple, with an ISP header for convenient reprogramming. They’re lighter than they look and quite comfortable.

Thank you, Rick! I know what I’ll be wearing to Maker Faire!

From the Mailbag: Interactive Game of Life

Game of Life by Forrest

Forrest shared these pictures of his Interactive Game of Life build.

I bought the project to help expose my two grandsons to electronics and learn how to build circuit boards.  Dan my 10 year old did one board all by himself just using your instructions. Josh my 14 year old did more than half of the boards and I finished them up because I only have the kids for limited time periods. I am so proud of them. Josh complete understands how the Game Of Life works…I don’t  HA!  We are planning on adding a instruction board to the bottom of the display so other kids can have fun.

I have a CNC router and built the frame.  The boards are screwed onto a piece of 1/4″ plywood which floats in the frame.  Not glue in.  I machined a loose slot around the inside frame pieces.  That way I can take the frame apart and easily change out of a board if necessary.  It has been so much fun to build and you have SUPER service.

We thank you so much and would like to build more projects that you may come up with.  As soon as I get more time with Dan we are going to build the clock.

He also shared his case design (105 kb dxf). Thank you for sharing your time and skills with your grandkids, and for sharing your pictures and design with the rest of us!